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|Livingstone and Blair Hold Talks on Crossrail|
- Finance to be hammered out after scheme pledges of support
KEN LIVINGSTONE met Tony Blair yesterday to try to persuade the government to fund the long-awaited Crossrail scheme.
"Crossrail is the single biggest addition we need to make to London's infrastructure," said the London Mayor, who took with him business leaders and fellow City Hall politicians.
Blair said: "This government is absolutely committed to Crossrail. We will work with the mayor and with business to secure a final funding and financing package."
Crossrail would link up towns to the west of London, such as Maidenhead, as well as Heathrow airport, with central London and then towns to the east like Brentwood.
Livingstone said that in terms of economic development, the "case is overwhelming" for Crossrail, but getting money out of the government hasn't been easy.
That's because if things go wrong while itís being built, say with a budget overrun, the government would feel the heat in bad publicity, but if things go well and Crossrail is a success, the good press will go to a different government more than a decade in the future.
The government, the mayor and leading London businesses will now hammer out a financial agreement on the UKP10 billion scheme. Roughly speaking, the three parties are likely to split the cost three more or less equal ways.
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